Things I Learnt About the Philippines While Traveling Southeast Asia
After living in the Philippines so long there are definitely some things I have come to know about the place but I wasn’t really sure if these were ‘Philippines things’ or ‘Asia’ things.
There are certain things that I learned were just an Asian thing, and others where it was much more prevalent in the Philippines than in other places. Of course overall I will be doing A LOT of generalizing here.
Not every person will have the traits I talk about, but in general I feel like these are what you should expect when traveling around. Lots of the stuff I will talk about is negative mostly because it is easier to notice when someone does something that annoys you, or maybe I just notice them easier.
Lets start off with a few positive things where Filipinos did things better.
Why Life as a Philippines Expat is Better
I thought it before I left and I still do: the people in the Philippines are the kindest you will find. Actually I would rate Indonesians to be pretty much the same as far as friendliness goes and they’re very DTF as well.
Bule = western guy
But there is one key difference. The English is sooooooo much better in the Phils than it is anywhere else I have been in Southeast Asia and it isn’t even close.
This was something I totally took for granted in my time as an expat living in the Philippines.
It can be really hard to do the simplest things like ask people for assistance with anything. I was staying near a very prominent building in Indonesia that everyone knew. But I would say the name of the building slightly different than their dialect and half the people had no clue what I said until I typed it into my phone.
That was kind of how it went everywhere and finding good English speakers was generally pretty hard wherever I went. Even in the touristy areas it could be hard which is surprising.
Even taking the English out of the equation I felt like the Filipinos and Indonesians were the genuinely nicer people where as Thais and Vietnamese were much more xenophobic and the average person had little to no interest in foreigners.
Online dating is great in the Philippines or Indonesia, good in Thailand, and while it is probably the best way to meet girls in Vietnam it is nowhere near as good as the other places. In the Philippines you often see the hottest girls with foreigners, in Vietnam I never saw the hottest girls with anyone but Vietnamese people.
As far as other ways for meeting girls I prefer daygame in the malls and the Philippines and Thailand are the two best for that, but Philippines is clearly the best. While there are great malls in Thailand that are really crowded like in the Philippines the limited English of the girls makes them more stand offish.
Indonesia has huge malls also, more than in the Philippines even, but they seem to be about 10% as crowded as in the Philippines. When Filipinos have nothing to do they go to the mall. They walk around, they sit, they window shop or buy some food.
When Indo girls have nothing to do they… I have no idea but roaming the mall isn’t the answer. While this means when you do see a hot girl in the mall it is easy to get a good approach spot seeing hot girls is rare.
Malls in Vietnam barely even exist so it really isn’t an option there. Daygame is tough and even if you do get a girl to text you she’ll want you to go on dates and act like a serious boyfriend before she gives it up.
Vietnam approach spot?
While Filipinos aren’t exactly the best drivers in the world I would say they were better than drivers in Indonesia and Vietnam. In those two countries people drive much more aggressively and there are motorbikes coming out of nowhere at all times.
They will ride on the sidewalk often and you pretty much always have to be paying attention any time you are walking around. While the majority of drivers in these parts seem to be pretty bad and don’t think about anything other than ‘I am going there’ at least in the Philippines they drive slower and are more passive.
The Negative Things I Noticed About The Philippines
That covers most of the positive things and now for the negative ones. It should be noted that I already ‘knew’ or had strong theories about most of these things before but traveling confirmed them.
The first one that sticks out is that noise pollution is FAR worse in the Philippines than anywhere else. There is just constant music blaring and people being loud everywhere you go. I really only had noisy neighbors in one other spot (Vietnam) but I was staying in a hotel so that is to be expected.
Another thing that really stands out is how basically every girl I met in other countries was doing something whether it was working, school, or hooking. Hey hooking is better than nothing right?
So many girls in the Philippines are doing nothing at all. Looking for a job, studying next year, lying in bed all day waiting for people to hit like on their newest selfies they put on FB. I can’t think of any girl I met elsewhere that wasn’t up to something.
I thought the malls in the Philippines were really nice until I saw what is going on in Bangkok and Jakarta. You go from the dirty streets of PI and into a nice mall and you can’t help but notice it. Not a big deal, but the malls in Bangkok and Jakarta are definitely on another level.
I was never getting any of the ‘can I borrow’ requests in other countries. Sure there were hookers on dating sites in all countries but they weren’t shy to admit it.
Not like the Filipinas who will pretend to not be hookers and then ask for money after.
Pinay talking to jspill
Or even worse the girls who just met you and instantly ask tell you about their ‘big problem’ and how they’re ‘short on their money’.
There are also more street beggars in the Philippines than other places. Even somewhere like Walking Street in Pattaya only had 1 beggar and it was some lady who was clearly disabled. Walking Street in Angeles City has 5-10 regular beggars out each night.
Overall Though Things Are Pretty Similar
Even though there are some big time differences from place to place in general your life will be pretty similar in any of them. Being an expat in the Philippines won’t be that different to being an expat elsewhere in SE Asia.
I think it is much easier to socialize and meet new people in the Philippines. I definitely send far more texts per day there than I did in Vietnam or Thailand.
It really is remarkable how similar the Philippines and Indo are. If Indo had better visas I would give it more of a shot, but since they don’t I can’t imagine I will ever spend too much time there.